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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip
Israel Launches Raid At Hospital Allegedly Housing Hamas; Near Brawl, Kidney Elbows, Smurf Insults On Capitol Hill; Haley Vows To Abolish Anonymous Social Media Accounts; Abby Phillip Talks Politics With Michigan Secretary Of State Jocelyn Benson; CNN "NewsNight" Honors Ruby Bridges. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 14, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: They were also shown video of the attack. I'm going to about to show it to you. But I do want to warn you it's disturbing. You don't even see the most graphic parts here, though. DePape testified that he was surprised when he encountered her husband, Paul Pelosi, instead and then struck Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. Police arrived on the scene. I should note, David DePape, who is in court today, has pleaded not guilty.
He did say today, though, that he thought he had killed Paul Pelosi and was disappointed after his original plan to abduct Nancy Pelosi had fallen apart.
Closing arguments and that case are expected to wrap up tomorrow. We'll keep you updated on that.
I want to thank you for joining us tonight. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip starts right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: The Israeli military marches into Gaza's main hospital. That's tonight on Newsnight.
Good evening. I'm Abby Philip in New York. And we are following breaking news on what the IDF calls a precise and targeted operation that puts Al-Shifa hospital now in his crosshairs. Al-Shifa is Gaza City's largest medical facility. It is also what the Israelis say is a base of operations for Hamas terrorists. That's an assessment that is also endorsed earlier today by American intelligence.
Now, before tonight, that hospital already resembled hell on earth, with no fuel, no power, little medicine, no anesthesia and thousands of patients. Doctors tell CNN that can hear armored vehicles but are unsure right now if soldiers have penetrated the hospital perimeter.
We'll start first with CNN's Jeremy Diamond in Sderot. Jeremy, we've heard a lot from the IDF over the past few hours. What do you understand is the objective right now of this dramatic offensive into Al-Shifa?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Abby, we have been watching for weeks now as the Israeli military has been laying the groundwork to target Al-Shifa Hospital. They have claimed for weeks that Hamas operates a large command and control center below the hospital's grounds, and tonight, we're learning that the IDF is carrying out what they are calling a precise and targeted cooperation on at least one part of the Al-Shifa complex.
You can hear explosions behind me, though, happening in the northern part of Gaza, further away from Al-Shifa Hospital, indicating a fighting still happening there. But what the IDF is saying is that they are carrying out this operation based on intelligence and operational necessity. They say that their forces include personnel with medical teams and with Arabic language speakers as well in order to try and avoid civilian harm.
Hamas, for its part tonight, rejecting once again this accusation that it is operating out of hospitals, and it also, interestingly, blames not only Israel but also the United States for what it says is giving Israel the green light to conduct this operation by endorsing what it is calling a false narrative about its presence in hospitals.
Indeed, earlier today, the White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, saying that United States does believe that Hamas operates and underground facilitate below Al-Shifa hospital and that it may be holding hostages there as well.
In fact, that is something that an IDF spokesperson tonight very strongly hinted at, saying that there may be hostages there, potential hostages at this hospital. It's not clear whether this operation is designed to extract those hostages from that hospital, if indeed they are here. But he did say this is a very complex operation, made more complex by the fact that we know that thousands of people are still at this hospital, including patients and staff, but also thousands of people who are displaced and sheltering on the hospital grounds.
Earlier today, a doctor telling CNN that tanks were spotted at the facility, gunfights could be heard in the yard, and, clearly a very precarious situation for the people who are there. Abby?
PHILLIP: Absolutely, and incredible dynamic over the next few hours. Jeremy, we will stick close to you as this develops. Thank you.
And for now, I want to bring in Alex Plitsas. He's a former Pentagon counterterrorism official and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Alex, good to have you here.
As Jeremy just laid out, this is going to be complex. But the Israeli military is also saying it's going to be precise. I want to take a look here at this Al-Shifa Hospital compound. It is massive. How can you be precise and targeted in an environment like this?
ALEX PLITSAS, FORMER PENTAGON COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: That's an excellent question. So, it is the largest hospital complex in Gaza. It predates the modern state of Israel. It goes back to British (INAUDIBLE) Palestine. It was actually British army barracks before it was improved upon by the Egyptians and the Israelis over the years. And so, as you mentioned, it's massive. But there is intelligence allegedly that there are different potential command and control centers under the ground, as well as tunnels and complexes all over the complex there.
So, their operations right now targeting a couple of different operations on the compound.
PHILLIP: Yes. And just as you spoke about those tunnels, I mean, we have looked at this map quite a lot over the last month or so. Al- Shifa is in this area up here. And this really does seem to be kind of the heart of the tunnel network. It is so dense right here.
Do you think that when they say there is an operational necessity here, you heard Jeremy lay out some possibilities perhaps that there are hostages there, perhaps there is a command center there, what do you think is the most critical thing for the IDF to take out in this moment? PLITSAS: So, if they're operating on active intelligence, right, I
think you mentioned a couple of logical possibilities. If it's time sensitive, it's likely that there're hostages potentially there, that they're acting on it. The command center has been known and speculated for a very long time but the Israelis have been in the area within a couple of hundred meters for a few days, so they've lost the element of surprise. Hamas will know that they're in the area and that this is eventually going to happen.
So, it's a good possibility that Hamas may have cleared out, used the tunnels to move to other locations, but what they'll still find, if that's the case, if everything the intelligence holds up, will be a command center which will then lend credence to the stipends that Hamas has been using the hospitals and civilians as human shields. And as you saw, they already started getting on offensive information, operations-wise, and went after the Israelis and the Americans saying that they're responsible for what happened as opposed to them having a command center underneath a hospital.
PHILLIP: I want to read your White House statement. It is pretty interesting. It says, we do not support striking a hospital from the air and we do not want to see a firefight in a hospital where innocent people, helpless people, sick people are simply trying to get medical care they deserve.
Let's take another look at this hospital compound. There is a lot of points here, where people are sheltering in this compound. And that is going to be a huge factor. Can you do this while maintaining an effort to prevent civilian casualties?
PLITSAS: It's a great question, and it's in line with the White House statement. That's specifically why they didn't want to see an aerial attack on the hospital because it's a precise large explosives, this would have to be ground troops going in, likely special operations forces going into targeted locations, specifically to of what the situations you are talking about. So, you are 100 percent correct. PHILLIP: Yes. And before we go, I mean, just a quick look at what's happening here. This part of Gaza here on the top, incredibly densely populated, a lot of hospital facilities, but also this is where all of the bombing has been happening, that vast majority of it.
Alex Plitsas, always great to have you here with us. Thank you very much.
And just in, we are learning that President Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu who spoke at length about the hostages, and it comes as we heard this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, can you address the hostages directly and give them a message of hope and resilience in these troubling times?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Yes, I can. I've been talking with people involved every single day. I believe it's going to happen, but I don't want to get into any detail.
REPORTER: What's your message to the families?
BIDEN: Hang in there. We're coming.
REPORTER: Mr. President, (INAUDIBLE) this morning that Israel and Hamas close to a deal for the release of some of the hostages? Is there anything you can add to that?
BIDEN: No. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: That was President Biden they're sounding optimistic about a potential deal to free more hostages in Gaza. This is as family members of those being held captives demand the immediate release of their loved ones.
And among those being held hostage is Or Levy (ph). He is an Israeli who -- on October 6th, he and his wife left there were two-year-old at his in-laws to attend an outdoor music festival. That's when Hamas stormed that location, taking Or hostage and murdering his wife.
I'm joined now by Or's brother, Michael Levy. Michael, first of all, my incredible condolences to you for the loss of your sister-in-law and also what you find yourself doing here, which is pleading for the release of your brother. Can you tell us about what happened to them?
MMICHAEL LEVY, BROTHER HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: Of course. Or wanted to celebrate peace and love at the Nova Festival. They reached the festival at 6:20 A.M., that horrible morning of October 7th, and it was ten minutes before hell started. And when they reached there, the missile attacks started, and they had to run away, and they managed to text my mother and told her that they're heading back.
But, unfortunately, after a few minutes, they had to stop their car next to the road and hide in a bomb shelter, which was -- unfortunately, it became a death trap to Renav (ph). From the shelter, Or managed to call my mother, and he was terrified.
My mother asked him, Or, what's going on? How is everything? Are you okay? But his only response was, mom, you do not want to know. And then the line went off and that was the last thing we heard from him.
PHILLIP: I hear that sigh and I've heard it from so many families just like you that we are in a waiting game, it seems, right now. And you heard about President Biden just said in that clip that we just played. When you hear that, what do you think?
LEVY: On the one hand, it makes me feel hopeful and know that everything will be okay. But on the other hand, we heard it a few times before. So, until I won't see him at home and (INAUDIBLE) will have his father back, I won't believe it.
PHILLIP: We are also talking about the intensifying fighting in Gaza where you believe your brother is being held. What do you want to see happen with that operation? Are you worried at all that this intensify ting might put him in more danger?
LEVY: I guess it's only human to worry and to think about it. I'm trying to focus on the positive side and hope that the army knows what it is doing and I know that they won't hurt the hostages. So, I'm trying to stay on a positive note and hope for the best.
PHILLIP: Real quick. I mean, in Washington today, there was a massive, massive rally in support of Israel. When you see that, as an Israeli, I mean, how do you feel?
LEVY: I think it's important that the world will understand that it's not only Israel against Hamas, it's the world should be against Hamas. Because it's not about politics, it's about good versus bad. Hamas is evil. They are committing crimes against humanity. And if we won't deal with it, it will happen again and again and again, and not just in Israel. We need to tell them that they can't do what they're doing and that they need to release all the hostages. That's it.
PHILLIP: Michael, thank you so much for joining us tonight and we wish you the very best in hope for the return of your brother and all the hostages --
LEVY: Thank you so much.
PHILLIP: -- in Gaza right now.
And coming up next for us, as life and death plays out overseas, on Capitol Hill today, something totally different, schoolyard behavior, s near brawl breaking out between a senator and a witness and a separate physical incident involving an alleged elbow.
Plus, in the 2024 race, rivals on both sides of the aisle are pouncing on Nikki Haley tonight over a promise she made about your activity on social media. We'll discuss.
PHILLIP: The first rule of Fight Club is don't talk about that Fight Club and definitely don't hit someone in front of a reporter. Today, some lawmakers in Congress decided simply to do things that would get most Americans fired from their jobs.
To the House first and a case of alleged workplace violence, the reported culprit is Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker of the House. He and Republican Tim Burchett have a beef, to put it mildly. It started when Burchett voted to take away McCarthy's gavel, and it has only gotten worse from there, lingering until hitting a point where McCarthy literally hit Burchett.
NPR Correspondent Claudia Grisales was interviewing Burchett in the hallway when this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): I think it went all right. Sorry, Kevin, didn't mean to elbow, why'd you elbow me in the back, Kevin? Hey, Kevin, you got any guts? Jerk.
Hey, Kevin, why'd you walked you on me and elbow me in the back.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I didn't.
BURCHETT: They set there and the reporter said it right there. What kind of chicken move is that? You're pathetic, man. You are so pathetic. What a jerk. You need security, Kevin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: It all just makes you feel a Capitol Hill hallway now need some chaperones. That recess gone awry dynamic continued when our Manu Raju caught up with Burchett on the Capitol steps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURCHETT: He's a bully with $17 million and a security detail. Now, he's the type of guy, that, when you're a kid, would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his mama's or skirt.
You just don't expect the guy who was at one time three steps away from the White House to hit you with a sucker punch in the hallway.
PHILLIP: Here is McCarthy's response, a denial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: No, I did not elbow him. No, I would not elbow him. I would not hit him in a kidney. I guess a reporter was interviewing Burchett or something. I guess our shoulders hit. Because Burchett runs up to me, I don't know what he's talking about. Some reporters asked me. I did not run and hit the guy. I did not kidney punch him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Okay. But just a few seconds later, McCarthy seemed to channel O.J. Simpson saying, if I did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I'm not hitting somebody. If I hit somebody, they would know I hit them.
If I was punching, he would know it. If I kidney punched him, he'd be on the ground. So, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Frankly, this is really grade school stuff, but it doesn't end there. Over in the Senate, Oklahoma's Markwayen Mullin tried to reboot his old career as a mixed martial arts brawler by challenging a Senate witness to a throw down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): Quit the tough guy act in these Senate hearings. You know where to find me any place, anytime, cowboy.
Sir, this is the time, this is the place. If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults, we can finish it here.
SEAN O'BRIEN, GENERAL PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS: Okay, that's fine, perfect.
MULLIN: You want to do it now?
O'BRIEN: I'd love to do it right now.
MULLIN: Well, you stand your butt up then.
O'BIREN: You stand your butt up.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Hold on, stop it, hold it. No, no, sit down, sit down, both of you. You're a United States senator. Sit down, please.
Hold it. Hold it. If we can -- no, I have the mic. I'm sorry. Hold it. You will have your time.
O'BRIEN: Can I respond?
SANDERS: Oh, no, you can't. This is a hearing. God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress.
MULLIN: I don't like thugs and bullies.
O'BRIEN: And I don't like you because you just described yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: There may not be fighting in the war room, but everyone apparently wants to fight in Congress. And you know it's been a day when you can consider the profane relatively tame Marjorie Taylor Greene accusing Republican colleague Darrell Issa of having no emojis, and that seems downright blase.
When Republicans say they want to make America great again, we don't usually think it's nostalgia for 1856 when altercations in the Capitol were normal, like when Preston Brooks beat Charles Sumner unconscious with his cane.
So, how do we get past all of this? Well, the new speaker suggests that everyone just take a little timeout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): This will allow everybody to go home for a couple of days, for Thanksgiving. Everybody cool off.
This place is a pressure cooker. And so I think everybody can go home, we can come back, reset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: I want to bring in CNN Political Commentator S.E. Cupp and Rolling Stone Columnist Jay Michaelson.
S.E., God forbid Republicans or anybody and Congress could work for a few weeks straight, they get so riled up, they want to punch each other in the face. What is going on, but especially with the Republican Party? I mean, this has been boiling on for weeks, the name-calling, the profanity, the elbowing.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I put it at years, in fact. And let me juxtapose this with something else that happened today in a courtroom in San Francisco, where David DePape talked about being radicalized, watching far right YouTube videos that led him to conspiracy theories and led him to go to Nancy Pelosi's house looking to attack her, instead he ended up attacking Paul Pelosi.
That testimony today was grisly, graphic and harrowing. But the culture of vengeance and punishment did not come overnight. It came because Trump ushered it in.
And, listen, politicians before Trump, as you just said, were not always nice. They're not always angels. In fact, there were times were there was actual violence in the Capitol. But Trump came in and decided that vengeance and punishment was much more important than governing. Republicans bought into that completely and have decided that being identified but your enemies is much more important than by your friends, again, punishing more important than governing.
All of the stuff has been happening for years to get us to a place where a senator feels like it's okay to challenge a witness to an actual fight during a hearing, or a former speaker of the House thinks it's okay to elbow or assault someone that he disagrees with. That doesn't happen overnight.
PHILLIP: Yes, totally. I mean, some of it is just like performative. I mean, this is just about people getting attention, it seems.
JAY MICHAELSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: And yet this is the kind of attention that they seem to want. That the surprising part, right? So, it's like you would think this would be, well, aren't those guys worried about how this is going to play at home? No, they're thrilled about it, exactly what S.E. was saying. They're happy about it.
PHILLIP: Like the opposite, a huge fundraising boost.
MICHAELSON: It does feel like to me, I mean, are men okay? Like I don't -- this feels --
PHILLIP: Are they, as the man at the table?
MICHAELSON: Apparently not, definitely not representing any. But there does seem to be, I think, this Trump as this hyper masculine, I would say, toxic masculine idea, like there's going to be violence. And he also, not just vengeance and retribution, threatens violence preposterously. I mean, the guy is, what, 77 years old or something. But this thing of like, well, as a time of changing gender norms and kind of changing conceptions of gender, that there is this like reactionary old school masculinity thing, where I'm going to beat you up.
And I did a deep dive in the exchange between the Teamsters leader and the senator. And there was this name-calling and I sort of with that have the real fight, which has about unions versus bosses. That would actually be something the Senate might discuss. But, instead, exactly it's this playground version of masculinity.
PHILLIP: Can I just talk, S.E., about this McCarthy situation? Because we've had Tim Burchett on the show several times, he's alluded to this disparaging comment McCarthy made about his religion. And then he said there, this is the type of person that McCarthy is, that he's the type of guy who would elbow you.
I mean, maybe there's something to that, that the level of distrust there made it impossible for McCarthy to actually lead.
CUPP: But why did things get so personal? And that's on both sides. Look, I don't know who's telling the truth, but I trust the reporter who witnessed it, right, and witnessed this elbowing. Why did things get so a personal? Again, not overnight, right? Trump made everything personal and all the boundaries were crossed. That allowed people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz to come right into Congress and make it personal again, Marjorie Taylor Greene using really gross language that Trump also used, to describe her perceived enemies and detractors. This has been normalized. This environment was conditioned intentionally overtime.
Again, this doesn't just manifest in Congress. In one day, these four examples of just nasty behavior. That doesn't happen in a vacuum or overnight.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, we didn't even talk about the previous episodes of name-calling that you would have to bleep out, even on this show. Yes, it's crazy.
Everyone standby for us.
Nikki Haley is now taking some heat in that 2024 race after she has vowed to ban anonymous postings on social media. She calls it a national security threat. We'll debate that, next.
PHILLIP: Tonight, Nikki Haley wants to get rid of your burner account. The Republican presidential candidate wants verified identities attached to these social media accounts, and she's going after the companies themselves and their algorithms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I get into office, the first thing we have to do, social media accounts -- social media companies, they have to show America their algorithms. Let us see why they're pushing what they're pushing.
The second thing is every person on social media should be verified by their name. That's -- first of all, it's a national security threat. When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say. And it gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots, and the Chinese bots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Back now with SE Cupp and Jay Michelson. So, Jay, here's what DeSantis said. He invoked the then anonymous founding fathers who authored the Federalist Papers. He says it'll harm conservatives who fear being canceled. And then Vivek Ramaswamy also says that this is big tech censoring speech. What do you say?
MICHAELSON: I think this -- on the merits, as a lawyer, this is almost certainly unconstitutional for the White House to compel, or for the government to compel this kind of speech. As politics, Nikki Haley, like all of these, you know, runners up to Trump, is searching for something to run on, something to distinguish yourself by.
And I think this actually does that. I think it's a smart political move. There is a lot of anxiety among a lot of parents about social media, about what their kids are seeing. I don't think this proposal would ever fly as an actual policy.
PHILLIP: But it's not really like a new concept. Verification is something that people have posited to make social media less toxic.
MICHAELSON: That's true. And I think we've moved to this kind of strange tech libertarianism where a lot of folks who aren't normally this libertarian. It's always a balance right between civil liberties and then protecting the vulnerable.
So, for example, hate speech, which targets the vulnerable. Well, we can attack that speech even though that does restrict the free speech of someone else. Here we do seem to have kind of stopped talking about the fact that there are ways to establish verification. Again, I'm not really behind this proposal, but I think as a move of politics, this is a smart territory for her to stake out.
SE CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But among whom? Because I mean, all I noticed was conservative pushback. As a conservative, I understand it, right? Whether it's thinking about Thomas Paine and Alexander Hamilton and needing that cloak of anonymity, otherwise what they said would have been treasonous.
Or, I mean, think about the countless other kinds of people that use anonymity on social media and elsewhere. Dissidents, victims of sexual assault and harassment. There are lots of good reasons to have your free speech protected by a cloak of anonymity. This would get rid of this. And then finally, it's just massively, blatantly, un- conservative to decide that the best solution for a problem, like the lack of civility, is more government. I mean, I don't know who vetted this policy idea.
PHILLIP: There's also a national security argument that she's making. Here's the thing. I mean, part of me feels --
CUPP: We all lament the bots.
PHILLIP: But part of me feels -- this feels like the Ramaswamy and DeSantis pushback is about the kind of very online conservative base, the -- the Elon Musk fans of the world who think that conservatives are being extraordinarily oppressed online, even though there's actually a lot of evidence to the contrary.
MICHAELSON: That's certainly true. There are a lot of kinds of conservatives, right? There are also sort of mom and apple pie conservatives. You know, I'm so old, I can remember when conservatives wanted to censor heavy metal records, you know, a million years ago. That's how old I am.
CUPP: No, that was super-gore. That was super-gore. There were a lot of conservatives. That was not conservatives.
MICHAELSON: There were plenty of social conservatives who said that this was promoting Satanism, that this was terrible music.
PHILLIP: Yeah. MICHAELSON: It also happened in the 90s with hip-hop. So, there are, that's not the conservative view, but that's one of many conservative views. And I think as a parent myself, you know, I also am concerned about, I don't think that agreed -- I don't think a big government censorship program is the way to address it. But I do have that concern. And I think in a race where there's a desperate attempt to find some way to distinguish yourself from Donald Trump, I think Nikki Haley's doing that.
CUPP: I mean, you're right, she might be going after moms, specifically with this.
PHILLIP: Yeah, suburban moms.
CUPP: She's really going to get a lot of pushback from most conservatives and libertarians.
PHILLIP: An interesting point on the battlefield here in the 2024 race. SE Cupp and Jay Michaelson, thank you both. And up next, a decision tonight on whether Donald Trump can remain on the ballot in Michigan. We'll speak with Michigan's Secretary of State next.
PHILLIP: Donald Trump will be on the ballot next year, at least in the state of Michigan, and at least for now. A judge there rejecting a challenge by activists and liberal groups to block him, citing the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause, basically arguing that his actions on January 6th disqualify him from office again.
And joining me now to discuss today's developments is Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Secretary Benson, thank you for joining us tonight.
JOCELYN BENSON (D), MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you for having me.
PHILLIP: And what is your reaction to today's ruling on this bid to keep Trump off of the ballot?
BENSON: Well, I was gratified that the judge reinforced our view of Michigan law, which is clear. I don't have the authority to determine a candidate's eligibility. And the court went one step further and said not only am I responsible and obligated to put anyone on the primary ballot who under Michigan law is a declared candidate, but also that the determination of any candidate's eligibility under the Constitution is really a question that should come later in the process and perhaps determined not by a court, but in the words of this court, look to Congress or the electors to make that determination.
PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of advocacy groups are going to keep pushing on this, that the group that brought this lawsuit said that they're going to file an immediate appeal. In fact, a lot of experts expect that other states who are facing similar challenges to disqualify Trump from the ballot will find that these challengers will do the same. Do you think that ultimately this ends up all the way to the Supreme Court? And if it does, how does that play out ahead of 2024?
BENSON: Yes, without question, the final arbiter in this decision is going to be the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, it gets there, we hope it gets there soon. But it's notable that the court cases that have already been decided have also noted that perhaps it's too soon to be making this determination in this primary phase. It may be -- it may not be until after, if the former President Trump gets the nomination of the Republican party, then it may be the appropriate time to bring this claim.
Today's opinion also suggests maybe even not then, but after he would be elected in the fall of next year, that would be the appropriate time to bring this qualification argument. So, there is some uncertainty still as to timing, but it looks like there's clarity, at least among the lower courts at this point, that the primary phase is a little bit too soon to bring these charges or to bring these questions.
PHILLIP: I'm sure you probably understand that some people are eager to figure out ways to get Trump off the ballot and that is what it is. But do you think that they're barking at the wrong tree here? Is this the wrong fight to be picking when it comes to Trump?
BENSON: Well, look, I think two things. One, the American people should decide who the President of the United States is going to be. And in my view, where there are questions of qualification, we should err towards the side of letting voters choose. But at the same time, these are very serious allegations the former president is facing, really unprecedented allegations that go at the very heart of our democracy.
And so, I completely understand the importance of getting this right. And that's why it is important to look at the law, to try to sort through existing precedent, to look to the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately as the final arbiter in this decision and to make this decision not from a political place, but from a legal, constitutional place. And I think that is really where we're headed.
PHILLIP: One last thing before I let you go. There was a video that was obtained by ABC News of former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis speaking to Georgia prosecutors and revealing that a senior aide to former President Trump told her that Trump was, quote, "not going to leave the White House, despite losing multiple legal challenges".
You and your state have been really at the heart of all of this election denialism. Are you concerned that we could see a repeat of this kind of conduct next year if he becomes the Republican nominee, Trump not being willing to accept the results of the election, whatever they are? BENSON: Yes, in fact, that is part of daily conversations that I have with myself, my colleagues around the country and here in Michigan. We have to be prepared for that. We've been enduring that type of -- same type of issue since 2020. And again, this is something that American voters need to think about seriously in casting their votes, both in the primary and in the general election.
Someone who's shown us already that they don't believe in the very principles of who we are as a country in our constitution and has said so repeatedly, flagrantly. Again, that's all something that the American voters should think about when they make their decisions throughout every election they participate in this year and next year.
PHILLIP: All right, Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State of Michigan, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
BENSON: Thanks for having me.
PHILLIP: Growing concerns among Democrats about President Biden's reelection campaign. We'll speak with Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock about that next.
PHILLIP: From dismal poll numbers to anxiety around his age, the concerns are growing among Democrats over President Biden's reelection bid, and one state is key to his chances. I want to bring in Senator Raphael Warnock of the state of Georgia. Senator Warnock, thank you for joining us tonight.
Raphael Warnock (D), GEORGIA SENATOR: Great to be here with you.
PHILLIP: So, Senator, just recently, a couple days ago, CNN had a new poll showing that President Biden is struggling right now. Polls are polls, but he's struggling in these polls with some key Democratic constituencies that he will need to win the presidency.
But particularly, I want to ask you about what's happening with black voters. Our poll suggests that right now Trump is almost at two times the support that he had among black voters in 2020, according to those exit polls. Is that a red flag for President Biden?
WARNOCK: Well, you know, we're a year out from the election and there will be many polls between now and next year. I can tell you that when I have been with the President and with the Vice President recently at a gathering of the congressional black caucus, there were folks in the room you couldn't contain the excitement and the energy. And the same with the Vice President when I was down at my alma mater, Morehouse College.
And so the polls will go up and down but I think at the end of the day, the American people, African Americans included, will have to ask themselves who's standing up for them. And the clear answer to that is Joe Biden. PHILLIP: Speaking of Donald Trump, there's a big trial in your home
state of Georgia. This trial is over his alleged role in an election interference scheme. Now, the Fulton County D.A., Fani Willis said today that this trial may not conclude until early 2025. Is that fair to voters in your state and in the country to have the fate of Trump basically decided after the election?
Listen, I'm going to allow the judicial process to do what it does. I respect that process. I respect the D.A. of Fulton County as she does her work. And I'm going to remain focused on the people of Georgia, including the bill that I was talking about today on this World Diabetes Day.
PHILLIP: Speaking of exactly that, there's a lot going on Capitol Hill, some of it not so good, but this is an example of bipartisanship. You and your colleague, Senator, John Kennedy just released a bipartisan report today on insulin deserts. These are areas with high rates of uninsured people and high rates of diabetes. There are more than 800 insulin deserts, you say, across the country. What are you proposing here to address this issue?
WARNOCK: That's right. Today on World Diabetes Day, I released a report with my partner in this effort, John Kennedy of Louisiana, that focuses on what we're calling insulin deserts. This is where you see the tragic convergence of counties, some 800 of them across our country, where you have elevated rates of diabetes and elevated rates of uninsured people.
And so, what we are seeing, and the question that we were asking ourselves is if we don't something done, who are the people who are going to be left behind? And what we learned was that in these insulin deserts, which by the way you see a high prevalence of in the south and the southeast. But you see them all across the country from Utah to New Jersey to Texas.
These are folks who are likely to be uninsured, but not only uninsured, but below the poverty rate. They are likely not to have much education beyond a high school degree or no education beyond high school and they don't have access to the internet or very little access to the internet.
And so, they're literally cut off. And what the report shows is that in spite of the progress that we've made, I'm proud of the fact that my insulin provision that we passed last year caps the cost of insulin. For folks on Medicare to know more than $35 of out-of-pocket costs.
I think folks in the corporate sector, as we have pushed them, have begun to put some caps in place, but they can rescind them at any time. And so, we've got to pass this bipartisan legislation that John Kennedy and I have introduced that will cap the cost of insulin for everybody who needs it, for insured people and uninsured people.
PHILLIP: And John Kennedy, who you're mentioning there, is also a Republican. But over in the House, there's a lot of rancor over there, some disagreements even among Republicans. Do you expect that this bill will be able to get through both Houses of Congress with bipartisan support?
WARNOCK: Here's the thing about this legislation. There are some two state, there's some two dozen states that have already capped the cost of insulin. And many of them are red states. This is not a red-blue issue, it's not a partisan issue, it's a health issue. And that's why John Kennedy is working with me on this.
And in recent days, among the co-sponsors for this bill are Josh Hawley, J.D. Vance, Senator Braun. We've got both senators from Alabama, Tuberville, and Britt. There is a bipartisan path to getting this done, because all of us, especially in the South, are feeling the impact of unmanaged diabetes.
We know the impact that this has not only on individuals, but on our overall health care system, $1 out of $4. And our health care system is spent on people with diabetes. It does not have to be unaffordable, and I'm hoping to get this across the finish line very soon.
PHILLIP: And before I let you go, Senator, there's some new political reporting this week on the voting rights organization, the New Georgia Project. That's an organization that's now facing allegations of misuse and irregularities. You were a part of this organization for some time. It's now conducting an internal probe into these claims. What do you make of the findings of this investigation from "Politico" about potentially the misuse of funds?
WARNOCK: Well, I left that organization several years ago to run for the United States Senate. I'm not aware of any misconduct, wasn't aware of any then and not aware of any now. We'll see how -- what comes of this.
PHILLIP: All right, Senator Raphael Warnock. Thanks as always for joining us tonight.
WARNOCK: Thank you very much. And up next, the walk that changed the course of American history.
PHILLIP: Sixty-three years ago today, a little black girl walked into a school where she wore a dress, a sweater, and a white bow in her hair. She carried what looked like a briefcase for her schoolwork, and at just six years old, she also carried the fate of American history.
Ruby Bridges entered that all-white school in Louisiana while being shouted at by angry mobs, racist taunts, hateful insults.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBY BRIDGES, FIRST TO INTEGRATE ALL-WHITE SCHOOL AS A CHILD: I remember the chant, "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate."
UNKNOWN: Some of these people were very threatening. They'd go to kill her, they'd go to hang her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: One protester sign read, "All I want for Christmas is a clean, white school." Another held up a miniature coffin with a black doll inside.
BRIDGES: I used to have nightmares about the box. So, those are the days that I distinctly remember being really, really frightened.
PHILLIP: States for years had fought against the Supreme Court's ruling to outlaw segregation in schools and that ruling just three months before Ruby entered the world in which she was not welcomed by all. And that day and all the days that followed Ruby was isolated in the Principal's Office.
She ate lunch alone. She was the only child in her class. She wasn't allowed to join recess with other children. Only one teacher had agreed to be with her as white parents refused to have their kids in the same room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIDGES: The lesson that I took away that year in an empty school building was that none of us know anything about disliking one another when we come into the world. It is something that's passed on to us. So, every time I see that, I think about the fact that I was an innocent child that knew absolutely nothing about what was happening that day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Ruby's innocence and eventually her pain is a good reminder that for a suffering world, both at home and abroad, courage can win, even if in the tiny shoes of just one little girl and on one particular November day.
And Laura, my daughter has a book, it's called "Lady Legends Alphabet", and B is for Ruby Bridges, and I'm grateful for that today and every day. Over to you.
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, you know, I am too. I mean, Norman Rockwell's painting hung in my dining room as a child my entire life. It passed down to my sister Jennifer, and now it's in her home.
And I can tell you, there is not a moment that goes by when I was a student, one of a very few number of black students in any of my schools ever in my entire life growing up. And I always thought about what it was like, and I am forever grateful for that little girl and the woman that she became. So, I'm so glad you honored her today. Thank you. PHILLIP: Thanks, have a good show.